In Part I we looked at the basic, before-you-begin questions. You do keep asking some of those questions as you view possible homes because ideas do change, but if you begin with a solid foundation, you maximize getting the right result. As you view homes you may move something from the ‘would like to have’ list to the ‘must have’ list. It happens. Where buyers can go wrong is when they only have a vague idea about what they want, believing they will get everything clear as they look. Then as they do look, something goes right off their radar, and they miss something that is critical.
So let’s keep asking those questions.
How Much Can I Really Afford?
Many buyers think they should find a home, then speak with a mortgage lender. Some sellers do not want to spend time staging their home, and letting someone view it only to learn they can’t buy it anyway. Sellers have a right to tell their Realtor “Pre-approved buyers only.” Buying the wrong home is a disaster; not being able to see what might be the ideal home is very sad. So get pre-approved.
Your lender will approve you for a mortgage loan because that is what you can afford. They will also take into account mortgage insurance costs, property taxes, and your homeowner insurance premium. If the monthly cost of those takes you to the maximum monthly outgoings you can afford, and you then buy a home that also has a high homeowner association fee, or if you have to spend a lot of money on repairs in two or three years, the overall cost may give you buyer’s remorse. Avoid the remorse by knowing what you can afford, and get pre-approved.
What About Home Inspections?
Another great question. The contract to purchase gives you certain rights, and gives the seller certain responsibilities. You agree to buy a home that is functional and safe. The seller agrees to sell it to you. Home inspections tell you more than an untrained eye can see. A home inspector, for example, checks the roof, the electrics, the plumbing, the heating and cooling systems, etc. to make sure they are functional. Choose a home inspector who is properly qualified and experienced. You may also choose to have additional inspections done, such as for wood destroying organisms.
If you attend the inspection, you can ask questions, and learn more about the property than you may learn otherwise.
What about the HOA or Condo Covenants?
If you buy a home in a subdivision or condo that is governed by CCIOA (Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act) then there will be rules and regulations you must follow. You may not be able to run a business from your home, you may be limited as to what colors you can paint the outside, you may not be able to put up a child’s play set that is visible from the road, just to take three common examples. Before you choose a home, make sure any covenants will allow you to live as you choose.
You may, of course, not want a next door neighbor who runs a pre-K or who breeds large dogs, and you may want to live where everyone is required to maintain their yards. So one of the most important questions to ask is “May I see the covenants, please?”
Today we looked at the less obvious questions buyers should ask. The whole idea is to give you the best foundation possible, so you make the best decisions possible. Avoiding buyer remorse is easy when you work with the right Realtor, and you ask the right questions.